Video of the Cambuslang game up now:
Video of the Cambuslang game up now:
Gasworks Park, Larkhall,
Larkhall Thistle v Cambuslang Rangers
McBookie.com Super First Division
Thistle were looking to bounce back from the disappointing opening day defeat at Darvel against the team that they pushed for the title all the way to the very last kick of last season. Cambusang are another one of the teams that the Jags would be looking to take points from if they have serious ambitions to survive and prosper in this league.
Cambuslang got off to the better start and looked lively going forward, whilst at the other end their defence was solid and winning every ball, ably marshalled by centre half Smith.
It was no surprise then that the wee Gers took the lead in the 19th minute with a well worked move. The ball was worked across the midfield to Dale Simeon on the right who lashed it across Jags keeper Thomson into the net off the crossbar. The visitors doubled their lead four minutes later with a bad goal defensively for Thistle, a close-range header from Lang’s Gebbie.
Cambuslang didn’t rest on their lead and continued to push in search of more goals, it was only good work by Thomson that kept the score down to 2-0. In reply, Thistle had a couple of half chances when Reid blasted over and Forbes put a good ball across the six yard area that didn’t find any takers. The best chance of the half though fell to Johnny McStay after what was the Jags best move of the game, Innes and Gracie combining well on the right before Gracie laid the ball into McStay’s path but he could only poke it at the advancing keeper.
Half time: Larkhall Thistle 0 Cambuslang Rangers 2
Mark McKeever and Hugh Kelly were deputising for the management duo who were at a wedding and must have given the team an inspirational talk at half time. As with last week, Thistle came out of the blocks and went straight about the business of trying to get back into the game. Like last week it took until they were 2-0 down for them to get going but they did just that and created some great chances.
David Reid had a couple of decent opportunities that he might have done better with if he’d kept his composure but he shot high and wide. McStay again though looked the most likely to score, a low drive bringing out a fine save from Stewart, the keeper was the hero again for Cambuslang with a wonder point-blank save from a Reid header.
Graham Gracie also had his chances, he had the ball in the net but the goal was disallowed for a foul on the keeper and had a great chance to score when Stewart again saved well from McStay but could only parry the ball into his path, his shot was blocked by a Lang defender throwing himself in front of the ball for an excellent block.
Matty Clarke came on for Josh Payne early in the second half after he had hobbled off injured. Clarke showed he still has plenty to offer with a series of good runs at the Cambuslang defence that gave Thistle a different option to the long ball which wasn’t working at all against a very good defence whose keeper was the man of the match.
Thistle now find themselves as one of the five teams still to get off the mark with no points from the first two games, but can maybe take some consolation from the fact that the two teams they have lost to sit first and second at the top of the table.
Full time: Larkhall Thistle 0 Cambuslang Rangers 2
Thomson; Brown, Robb, Reynolds; Jack (Canning 60); Payne (Clarke 52), Forbes, Innes, Reid, J McStay, Gracie (McKeever 85). Subs: Duncan (GK)
Stewart; Boyne, Gebbie, Smith, Boyle, Hay, McRobbie, Simeon, Love, Hewitt, Gormley. Subs: Mitchell, Kerr, Morley.
Booked: Forbes, Innes, Reid, Gracie, Clarke
MoM: Good workmanlike performances from most of the team and pleasing that they came back into the game and didn’t give it up but Stewart Thomson shades it with a couple of good saves.
*** Video up Sunday lunchtime
Gasworks Park, Larkhall
Larkhall Thistle v Cambuslang Rangers
Central League First Division
Thistle went into this crucial top of the table clash knowing that only a win would realistically keep their prospects of winning the league alive. Twelve points behind with four games in hand would have stretched to fifteen with the prospect of having to cram midweek games into a tight schedule so the three points were essential.
The Jags got off to the best possible start when after just eight minutes midfielder Brian Jack pounced on a loose ball in the box to swing his boot high and send a great shot crashing into the roof of the net. The Cambuslang coaching staff set the tone for the rest of the day as they appealed loudly for a foul against Jacko for a high kick, despite the fact that there wasn’t a defender close to him. Their protests were as fruitless as they were ridiculous and the constant cries for offside every time Thistle went forward were correctly ignored by the referee.
The Cambuslang players showed there was more about them though and came back to grab a quick equaliser eight minutes later. A ball was swung in from a corner on the left and Lang’s Nolan converted at the near post with a free header.
The goal lifted the visitors as they took control of the game for a spell and made a few chances, going close on one occasion with a cross/shot that clipped the post and a volley that would have burst the net if it had been on target. Thistle also had their moments, Graham Gracie replied with a low shot across the goal that went just wide, Mark McKeever brought out a good save and a goalmouth scramble resulted in Liam Mushett nearly poking a shot home but keeper Stewart managed to save again.
Chances at both ends then but the half time whistle came without any further addition to the scoring.
Half Time: Larkhall Thistle 1 Cambuslang Rangers 1
After the break, both teams made it clear that they were going all out for the win, resulting in a real old fashioned end-to-end contest that turned out to be more like a cup tie. Thistle had the best of the half and put the Cambuslang defence under heavy pressure for most of it, albeit without creating too many clear cut chances. The visitors also had their moments though and came close just after the restart when they hit the bar with a header.
Graham Gracie looked set to put the Jags ahead but a Lang defender managed to throw himself in front of the ball and block his shot – it was probably a legitimate challenge despite the calls for a penalty.
The game turned on a penalty decision that predictably the visiting bench didn’t entirely agree with. A cross from the left hit a defender on the arm and it is one of those decisions that some referees will give and some won’t, it was entirely open to interpretation whether the defender was too close to have been able to do anything about it but the referee was in a better position to judge than those who were giving him abuse. One of the Cambuslang players took his protests too far and was sent off in the aftermath.
Captain Mark Canning took responsibility and stepped up to slot the ball home for what proved to be the winning goal.
There were more half chances at either end as the teams went at each other right to the wire but neither keeper was really troubled too much. Credit to both teams for a great contest played in the right spirit – on the park at least.
The win keeps Thistle in touch and although there are some games to catch up, the destination of the title is in their own hands for the first time.
Full Time: Larkhall Thistle 2 Cambuslang Rangers 1
Scorers: Jack, Canning
Website Man of the Match: !00% effort from all of the players today but none more so than Mark McKeever who plugged away tirelessly up front.
D.Thomson; Brown, Mushett, Reynolds (Nicholl); Payne, Innes, Canning, Jack, Reid; McKeever (Clarke 85), Gracie. Subs: Kelly, McStay, S.Thomson
Cambuslang Rangers: Stewart, Gebbie, Halliday, Nolan, Bishop, Haye, Bohme, Simeon, Gormley, Kilmartin, Hastings. Subs: Kerr, Houston, Brown, Gemmell, Collinder
Video highlights of the game (sorry Cambuslang goal is missing, some of their supporters walked in front of the camera just as they were scoring)
Somervell Park, Cambuslang Rangers
Cambuslang Rangers v Larkhall Thistle
Central League First Division
With Thistle starting the game three points behind league leaders Cambuslang, this was the biggest league game the Jags had played for a number of years. Manager Dunky Sinclair decided to once again go without the club’s best defender and outstanding player for the last two seasons in Andy Brown, but instead leave a back three that was missing suspended Scott Nicholl and bring in Liam Mushett in place of last week’s starter Declan Doyle at right back.
It proved to be a gamble that backfired in a big way and although Niall Reynolds did well to try and cover the whole defensive area at times, the lack of pace and mobility in the full back areas cost the team dearly in the end.
After an even opening spell where there weren’t any real chances created, Cambuslang gradually took over the game and after about twenty minutes they were dominating and continued to do so for the rest of the match.
Stuart Thomson in the Thistle goal had to look sharp to get down and make a good double block as the home team turned the screw looking for the opener and they were really unlucky minutes later when Tommo did well to get anything on a rasping long range effort from their left back but could only parry it onto the head of an inrushing striker who managed to head it over the bar from point blank range.
Thistle having not produced much at all in an attacking sense managed to get to half time with their goal intact through a combination of some last gasp defending and sheer luck and the home side could have counted themselves very unlucky to go in at the break still level.
Half time: Cambuslang Rangers 0 Larkhall Thistle 0
The second half started much where the first had finished with Cambuslang on top and Thistle reduced to occasional breakaways, so it was a major surprise when the Jags took the lead. But even the goal owed more to good fortune than it did good play as they were awarded a hotly contested penalty for what seemed to be a nothing incident on the edge of the box. After the ‘Lang protests had died down, Mark Canning stepped up to slot the ball confidently past the home keeper.
That was about the end of the good news for Thistle as the rest of the day went from bad to worse.
The only real surprise was that Cambuslang had to wait till the 73rd minute to get their equaliser, a cross from the right wing was met with a great glancing header that took it away from Thomson into the top corner and gave the Jags keeper no chance.
Ryan Innes could also have counted himself unlucky to be left out given his recent fine form but he came on to replace Brian Jack just after the goal in an attempt to inject some energy and steel in the midfield.
Thistle were now under constant pressure and had another major break minutes later when the home centre forward fired a point blank header straight at Thomson, but it only postponed what was looking to be the inevitable and indeed the goal did come when the Thistle defence could not clear the ball out of their box and their No 20 latched on to it and crashed it into the roof of the net.
David Reid was having a bit of a fruitless afternoon on the left side and was replaced just after the goal by Mark McKeever, getting a rare appearance this season.
Cambuslang were in no mood to rest on their laurels and kept the pressure up, winning a corner on the left which was put into their own net by the Thistle defence in a goal-line tangle. The rout was complete four minutes into added time when another cross from the Thistle left back position was tapped in from close range by the home No 9, who made an unneccessary giruy gesture to the Thistle defence and should really have been booked for his stupidity.
It was a game that showed Thistle have a way to go before they can realistically challenge for the league and once again showed that they have a decent best starting eleven but are lacking in depth, especially in defence.
Full time: Cambuslang Rangers 4 Larkhall Thistle 1
Website man of the match: Hugh Kelly battled away in midfield and although he played a few stray passes he’s the pick this week.
S. Thomson; Mushett, Reynolds, Burns; Kelly, Payne, Jack (Innes 76), Canning, Reid (McKeever 81); Clarke, Gracie. Subs: Brown, McStay, Doyle
Thistle hosted struggling Cambuslang Rangers today, probably expecting to pick up all three points. But games between the teams in recent years have always gone with the team who finished lower in the league so this was a potential banana skin – and so it proved to be.
Today the Jags take on Cambuslang Rangers at Gasworks Park. Despite the Lang being nearer the wrong end of the table, we are expecting a tough game as usual against the team from down the M74.
The Daily Record has a match preview and an interview with ex Thistle player Alan Shields who is the co-manager of Cambuslang. Shields has high praise for two Thistle players, Davie McEwan and Graham Gracie.
Kick off is 2:00pm and admission is £4.00, concessions £2.00.
Thistle made the short trip down the M74 to play the wee Rangers and in a game of many chances, were the team who took theirs best on the day. A top performance by keeper Davie McEwan kept things blank at the other end.